St. Patrick's Day parade to trigger road closures
Published Saturday, March 14, 2009 2:18PM EDT
Those venturing downtown by car on Sunday should be aware that the St. Patrick's Day parade will pose some navigational challenges.
The parade begins on Bloor Street near old Varsity Stadium, goes eastward to Yonge Street and south to Queen Street West before finishing up at Nathan Phillips Square where the review stand will be located.
However, the closures start before that.
At 8 a.m., the following roads will be shut down to traffic until 12:30 p.m.:
- Harbord Street from Huron Street to St. George Street
- St.George Street College and Bloor Streets
- Devonshire Place between Hoskin Aveneu and Bloor Street
- Hoskin Avenue between St. George Street and Queen's Park Crescent West
At noon, several more streets will be closed until 3 p.m.:
- Bay Street between Queen and Dundas Streets
- Elizabeth Street between Dundas and Hagerman Streets
- Hagerman Street between Elizabeth and Bay Streets
The 22nd version of the annual parade will see floats, marching bands and Leprechauns working their way down the route.
CTV Toronto personalities Dave Devall, Bill Hutchison and Pat Foran will be there as judges.
The grand marshalls are brothers Jonathan and Robert Kearns, who created Ireland Park in Toronto -- a memorial to the Irish Famine experience.
In 1847, when the city of Toronto was only 13 years old and had only 20,00 residents, more than 38,000 Irish refugees of the Great Famine -- which lasted from 1845 to 1851 -- arrived in the city.
According to the Ireland Park Foundation website, about 1,100 of those would die that first year.
The influx of so many impoverished newcomers, many ill, strained the young city. There were stories of kindness and charity, and cruelty and exploitation.
However, by 1848, the vast majority had moved on to other locations in what was then known as British North America or in the United States.
"The most striking residual effect of "Black '47", however, was the manner in which the local population would thereafter view all Irish through the single lens of this tragic moment," wrote Prof. Mark G. McGowan and Michael Chard in an article for the website.
"There would be no mistaking the hostility of locals to the Irish, whom they deemed more as a problem and an impediment to progress, than as a blessing to their community."
The famine would go on to become a touchstone of the Irish identity in Canada, they said.
Ireland Park opened in 2007. It is located at the foot of Bathurst Street on the waterfront.